Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmmm...

Kim Jong Un's 'emaciated looks' are worrying broken-hearted North Koreans, state TV reports

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pretty clearly lost some weight, but Pyongyang isn't exactly celebrating the slimmer leader. "Our people's hearts ached most when we saw (Kim's) emaciated looks," North Korean state TV reported Friday, quoting an unidentified male wearing a straw hat. "Everyone says their tears are welling up in their eyes naturally."

Based on recent photos, North Korea watchers estimate that 5-foot-8 Kim, who used to weigh about 308 pounds, has lost 22 to 44 pounds recently, The Associated Press reports. Theories on Kim's weight loss range from successful dieting to improve his health to long-simmering rumors about health issues, and some analysts see the unusual concern expressed on state TV as a way to boost sympathy and support for Kim inside North Korea, suffering from crises tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Nations sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, natural disasters, and chronic economic mismanagement. 

Kim, 37, is known for heavy smoking and drinking, and he has not picked a successor. His father and grandfather both died of heart issues.